What are the best Toronto neighbourhoods? What is the best place to live in Toronto for young singles or young families? Where to live in Toronto depends on your preferences and lifestyle, so we try to outline the most common neighbourhoods for newcomers to the city. Finding a good place to live can be one of the most daunting tasks when moving to Toronto, so it’s worth investing time and effort in preparation and research.
This section offers a brief description of the different neighbourhoods, aimed at giving you an idea as to where to live in Toronto. Deciding where to live in Toronto can take a while so try not to commit to a location long term until you have arrived and seen more of the city. There is a steady flow of rented accommodation in Toronto.
BlogTo does a pretty great job of identifying the different neighbourhoods in and around the downtown core of Toronto. This resource is definitely worth looking at.
Where to live in Toronto
Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods. The Old City of Toronto covers the area generally known as Downtown Toronto. The financial district contains the largest cluster of skyscrapers in Canada and is characterized by the iconic CN Tower.
North of Downtown is populated with historic, wealthy suburbs. The city centre is experiencing a boom in premium apartments, but such living can come with a hefty price tag. Many people choose to live in nearby neighbourhoods, such as Cabbagetown and High Park.
The five sprawling Toronto suburbs consist of York, East York, North York, Etobicoke and Scarborough, making up the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).
The inner suburbs of Toronto are contained within the York and East York municipalities, while the outer suburbs encompass the Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York municipalities. These latter areas are a good distance from downtown and, while accommodation there may be cheaper, the cost of transport and commuting time will offset this cost. All of these factors ought to be weighed up when deciding where to live in Toronto.
High Park North areas
High Park North is a village-type neighborhood, which has its boundaries in the south by Bloor Street, on the west by Runnymede Road, on the north by Annette Street, Quebec Avenue and Humberside Avenue, and on the east by the CNR/CPR railway tracks. Locals recognize the region as being a welcome haven away from the energetic, heaving city of Toronto.
This spot is principally residential, made up of high-rise apartments and houses. The main languages spoken in the area are Chinese, Spanish, Ukrainian, Polish and Russian, but more recently you’ll pick up the Irish lilt. Bloor West Village is a stretch of road with colorful shops with the ambiance of a west-of-Ireland village. It is very safe with a tangible sense of community.
Rent prices range from $1900 p/m for a three-bed apartment to $990p/m for a one-bed apartment.
You will find everything you might need and more in Bloor West Village, with schools, bars (both sophisticated and casual), cafés, supermarkets and restaurants.
This region hosts one of the biggest parks in North America at 161 hectares (400 acres), and many have found themselves lost in High Park’s belly. With energetic rivers, mile-high trees and lush, wild vegetation, the ample wildlife has the resources that are required to thrive. Countless ducks, birds, chipmunks, swans and squirrels have found a home in the park. Tennis courts, baseball diamonds and soccer fields, monuments, Chinese gardens, a labyrinth, a zoo, a cafe and a pool can all be found there too. Walk along the Grenadier Pond on the west side of High Park and you’ll forget that you are in the largest city in Canada. In Spring, the park erupts into bloom and it is beautiful.
High Park North is served by the Dundas West, Keele and High Park stations of the Bloor-Danforth TTC subway line and it won’t take you longer than 20 minutes to reach downtown Toronto. The TTC also operates local buses out of each station. To travel to Pearson airport, the subway to Kipling Station will take 10 minutes from High Park station. There you’ll catch the air shuttle bus, which takes a further 20 minutes.
The only downsides are that you will have to pay at least $20 to get a cab from downtown to High Park. You will be doing this more often than you might think as the TTC stops at 2 a.m. and sometimes you might crave living in the midst of Toronto’s downtown crazy nightlife and noisy bustle. If you enjoy nature, relaxing surroundings and good coffee, you will love High Park.
‘Midtown Toronto’ roughly encompasses a stretch of Yonge Street running north of the city from Rosedale up to Lawrence. There are loads of interesting and diverse neighbourhoods sandwiched in between, including Summerhill, St.Clair, Davisville, and Eglinton. Have a look at the TTC subway map and the significance of the subway in this city is evident — all these little neighbourhoods along Yonge Street have grown up and continue to grow around their stations.
This area of Toronto brings together a diverse group of people but is generally home to many young professionals. The streets of the Midtown neighbourhoods, as in most of Toronto, are fairly deserted during the cold winter months. The arrival of the summer means the streets are filled with life again. In the summer, many people drift from the Midtown area to the Downtown core in search of a more exciting weekend nightlife, but plenty of life remains along the many Midtown patio bars and restaurants, particularly in St.Clair and Eglinton.
The TTC subway stops running out of the city at around 2 a.m. and is replaced at weekends by the ‘Vomit Comet’ bus dropping the partying masses home along Yonge Street from the city.
Rosedale & Summerhill
These areas are considered among the most affluent areas of the city. Beautiful large houses fill the streets intersecting Yonge Street and beyond. One of the biggest liquor stores in Toronto is situated beside the Summerhill station.
Rosedale and Summerhill have plenty of bars, boutique shops and restaurants interspersed with thriving tennis clubs and parks.
One of the best sandwiches in the city is served at Black Camel, next to the Rosedale station.
St.Clair is home to lots of restaurants and bars and this helps ensure the area is busy until late most nights of the week. The rooftop patio bars at the ‘Fox and the Fiddle’ and ‘Scallywags’ fill up with happy locals during the scorching summer months.
Davisville is located on a quiet intersection of ‘the world’s longest street’, sandwiched between the busy St.Clair and the busier Eglinton. Little restaurants — Mexican, Japanese, Italian, you name it — line both sides of Yonge street between Davisville and Eglinton to the north. The sprawling Mount Pleasant cemetery, full of squirrels, cyclists, raccoons and people jogging, divides Davisville and St.Clair to the south.
Davisville is home to lots of downtown workers who pour onto the subway at Davisville station in the mornings and again in the evenings. The small, pretty redbrick houses in the neighbourhood are slowly being cleared from the streets to make way for soaring condo buildings. The streets of Davisville are filled with residents walking their dogs or relaxing in the small parks dotted around the area.
There are five pubs in Davisville, the newly refurbished Bull & Firkin, The Twisted Kilt, Kramers, The Red Lantern, and the brand new Fionn McCool’s. All the typical commercial buildings you would expect are located here. The Kay Gardner Beltline, a disused railway line, is now transformed into a walking and running path and the locals flock to the path in the summer evenings to exercise.
The Eglinton area of Toronto is one of the busiest intersections of Yonge Street and is the main commercial centre of the midtown area. This area, dubbed ‘Young and Eligible’, is a first home to many newcomers to the city, including young Ontario college graduates moving into the city. Cinemas, gyms, shopping centres, busy bars and restaurants are all located here. The area offers a lot of the attractions of downtown but at a slightly calmer pace. The proposal to construct a new East-West subway or light rail system along Eglinton Avenue will mean this part of town will continue to grow and grow.
Kensington Market/Chinatown/Little Italy/Little Portugal
Kensington Market and the surrounding areas are a great place to live in downtown Toronto. They are all very close to each other, and together make up a very interesting and exciting place to live. They won’t burst the purse strings by any means either. Depending on what type of accommodation you are looking for, rent here ranges from $350 to $750 per room. Kensington is a very quirky and trendy little market mainly based on Augusta Avenue with many side streets as you venture down the strip. If you’re looking for a vintage store or a different kind of look, you’ll find it here. There are some unusual bars and eateries around this area too, so you’ll always be spoilt for choice.
Little Italy is just past Kensington Market along College Street. It’s very small, only a few blocks, but a lovely area to live in. College Street always has something happening, with many bars and restaurants. It also has a 24-hour TTC line, convenient for those who work nights or for anyone out socialising. College Street also has one of the few bars that opens till 4 a.m. most nights.
Only a block north of College is Dundas West where you will find Little Portugal. Vegetarians will love this strip as there are so many restaurants catering for their needs — even non-vegetarians love the food.
Still undecided on where to live in Toronto? Hopefully not, but if you are unsure it’s always best to speak with people living in each area before you decide.
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